A ‘cork’y class to indulge

Before you complain about the new General Education requirements, consider taking “Chemistry of Wine,” where you can learn how to make your own Merlot and Zinfandel.

For many, wine is an intriguing, yet mystifying beverage – especially for students enrolled in the new General Education course Chemistry of Wine.

Students enrolled in the course learn how to tell the difference between a $2 and a $2,000 bottle of wine. They also learn how to make their own wines. The class teaches the fundamentals of chemistry through a medium held near and dear to college students: Alcohol.

“One-third of students are enrolling because of the typical forbidden fruit taboo,” said Robert Levis, a professor of chemistry. “The rest are interested in wine and want to learn how to make an informed judgment.”

The course fulfills the Science and Technology GS requirement for students completing the GenEd curriculum.

So this isn’t Booze 101 in Beury Hall. Instead, professors Levis and David Dalton are teaching an expansive and cerebral wine course, which is open to students of all ages.

“We’re trying to give a broad overview of chemistry and still give students who would never step foot in the lab a chance to do so,” Levis said.

Students can expect to learn by participating in an assortment of demonstrations, sensory evaluations and hands-on experiments.

“Students will leave this class with a greater understanding of the chemical processes involved in the winemaking process and will also recognize how to pick out a bottle of wine based upon factors such as region, age and wood,” Levis said.

But what makes wine superior to its rivals, beer and liquor? Why not offer a class called the “Chemistry of Vodka”?

“Wine is always changing,” Levis said. “From the moment the leaves appear on the vine, its chemistry changes. Because there are so many chemical operations all the way through, you receive a much higher flavor experience.”

“Not only does it taste good, but I know it’s healthy,” senior Kenny Shumski said. “Once I get to a certain age, I see myself getting phased out by beer and liquor.”

Research from the Wine Market Council shows that wine consumption for drinkers between the ages of 13 and 30 has dramatically increased within the last few years.

“You don’t see college frat houses offering you a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, and there is a reason for that,” said sophomore secondary education David Sisbarro.

For those looking for a new edge, wine might be the answer. Luckily for Temple students, the Chemistry of Wine course gives the younger generation of wine drinkers an opportunity to taste delicious beverages.

“This course has given me a wide overview of wine,” Sisbarro said. “Now I know why certain wines are more expensive, the differences of red and white wines and what flavors go into a wine. This will help me later on when it comes to buying, serving and tasting wine.”

Lucia Sorrenti can be reached at lucia.sorrenti@temple.edu.

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